There certainly have been a lot of Twitter mobs lately — the one that really seems to have gotten the ball rolling was the liberal mob that descended on fellow liberal actor Mark Duplass when he recommended that his followers follow “genuine person” Ben Shapiro for an honest look at the other side. Duplass got his hand bitten for extending it across the aisle and issued an apology for daring to recommend Shapiro.

After that was the “mob” that took down “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn from his gig directing the third installment of the series. And now we’ve had mobs going after Alyssa Milano for participating in a “fat-shaming” Netflix series and Scarlett Johansson for wanting to play a trans man.

The New York Times’ Amanda Hess tackles the idea of the online mob in a piece published Tuesday, but we bet you can guess which mobs are just vicious and which are “perfectly rational.”

Hess writes that “the Johansson ‘mob,’ for instance, was dedicated to challenging a fault in the status quo, punctuated by trans actors’ insights into the ways Hollywood was embracing their stories but still boxing them out of participating in telling them; it seemed less interested in punishing Johansson than in gaining opportunities for trans people.” Perfectly rational, see, even though it probably resulted in the film being scuttled entirely and forced Johansson to apologize for standing up for herself.

But as for the vicious mobs:

The Gunn mob was led by a clutch of far-right men who only frame themselves as outsiders and use as their weapon the most thoroughly accepted norm they can find: that pedophilia is indefensible. The insincerity of their complaint — or the fact that Gunn apologized for his jokes years ago — doesn’t matter, because the goal isn’t to change anything; it’s merely to destroy a rival.

Yeah, going after someone over a bunch of pedophilia and child porn jokes? Cheap shot. And Gunn didn’t apologize for his jokes years ago; he apologized when his old tweets were brought to the surface. And we don’t recall anyone but Disney, owner of the Marvel film properties, choosing to drop a man whose pedophilia jokes just didn’t fit in with the company’s values.

So yes, the trans mob was justified even though it claimed Johansson’s scalp, but the Gunn mob was just “a clutch of far-right men” who didn’t think Gunn’s many pedophilia jokes should just fade into a memory hole somewhere.

We think the online mob thing has gone too far, but apparently, some mobs are perfectly rational. Who knew?

Can you believe a vicious mob would go after Sarah Jeong just because of her openly racist tweets? That’s not rational.

Good question.


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